Malaysia’s own security standards will dictate which companies take part in its planned 5G network roll-out this year, its communications minister told Reuters on Monday, as the United States pushes countries to exclude China’s Huawei Technologies. Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker, has been at the centre of a US-led campaign to clamp down on the use of Chinese technology in the development of the next-generation mobile platform because of concerns the firm’s equipment could be used by Beijing for spying. The US placed Huawei on its trade blacklist in May, and in February US prosecutors accused the company of stealing trade secrets and helping Iran to track protesters. Shenzhen-based Huawei denies the charges. Malaysia is aware of the “concerns that have been expressed around the world” about Huawei, but it will be governed by its own security standards in choosing partners for the nationwide 5G roll-out planned for the third quarter, said Gobind Singh Deo, the country’s minister of communications and multimedia. Forget Britain’s Huawei fumble, China’s helping Malaysia find its 5G spot “My position is very clear, we have our own safety standards, we have own safety requirements,” Singh Deo said. “So whoever deals with us, whoever comes up with proposals, we have to be certain and we have to be sure they meet the security standards that we have.” Asked if Huawei had made a promise similar to the one made to India on preventing “back doors” in its equipment, which the US had said could be used by Beijing to carry out covert surveillance on other countries, Singh Deo said: “I don’t think we look at one particular company and say this is how it should be.” “When you talk about security, be it Huawei or anyone else, you want to be assured that whatever system they propose … is suitable for you,” he said. “We do not say we will not deal with one particular company because generally there are security concerns.” Malaysia plans to issue mobile spectrum tenders in April and estimates that fibre optics infrastructure and cellular coverage expansion, which includes 5G network development, would cost some 21.6 billion ringgit (US$5.2 billion) over five years. Should the Malaysian government’s plans go according to schedule, 5G services would first be made available in nine sectors, ranging from agriculture to manufacturing and entertainment and media. Consumer access to 5G is likely to come online by the end of the year or early 2021, Singh Deo said. Huawei has already signed a 5G equipment supply deal with Malaysian mobile network operator Maxis and preliminary agreements with other telecoms services providers, such as Axiata Group’s Celcom and Telekom Malaysia. Besides Huawei, other suitors seeking a piece of Malaysia’s 5G business include Finnish company Nokia, which is positioning to provide services for the trade-reliant nation’s ports industry, and Sweden’s Ericsson. Singh Deo said the government was keen to involve as many companies as possible to encourage healthy competition in the name of better services. Purchase the China AI Report 2020 brought to you by SCMP Research and enjoy a 20% discount (original price US$400). This 60-page all new intelligence report gives you first-hand insights and analysis into the latest industry developments and intelligence about China AI. Get exclusive access to our webinars for continuous learning, and interact with China AI executives in live Q&A. Offer valid until 31 March 2020.